Saturday, October 22, 2005

Flat dogs

So flat. Today the sun was out, and we cleared all the stakes and plastic out of the garden. It was taxing for dogs, all that watching and stealing cucumbers and burying things and digging them up and burying them again and what is she doing with those sticks? I could not interest anyone in evening dogfood, so committed are the three to their naps.

I had a very nice nap myself, then got up and finished the broccoli surprise soup. Surprise because there it was yesterday, after the first frost and all. And again today the surprise of a previously unsuspected acorn squash. And a couple of overgrown cucumbers, but those have now been buried.

One of the reasons that I started writing Vermont Diary was to record garden events, so here is the season wrap-up.

No more yellow tomatoes, or at least not many. They are very pretty, but they don’t have enough acid for home canning. Romas are nice and the green ones keep well into the fall. The recipe of the year may well be oven dried grape tomatoes. Just cut them in half and spread them on a lightly oiled baking sheet and put into the over overnight at the lowest possible temperature, then store in the freezer They are wonderful, but I really must investigate what the energy cost adds up to.

Corn is not a good crop for my plot—too much shade and too many turkeys eating it before it has a chance to sprout.

Sunflowers are a good thing.

Pole beans did not do well. Bush beans were a triumph, and my freezer is full of them. Black eyed peas did not have enough days in the growing season. Summer savory in the bean patch definitely worth repeating.

And what’s up with the eggplant? And the peppers. I had one eggplant and one pepper all season, even though the plants were robust and healthy.

Broccoli was consistently wonderful. The plants from the local garden center were excellent, and the De Cicco ones I grew from seed were even better.

Beets were okay. I like beets but they failed to inspire. Ditto carrots and radishes. I forgot to plant parsnips.

Onions and garlic complete and dismal failure. Couldn’t even find the plants. I blame the turkeys. If you find one up here, consider it pre-seasoned.

Chard: excellent. Collards: very nice. Kale: would be nice with fewer beetles chowing down. Mustard: forgot to eat it. I always think I will eat more greens than I actually do.

The champion crop for this year, as for many years was squash. Pretty round zucchinis that went well on the grill, yellow crookneck, lovely Delicata (several still in my dining room table still life), a funky round red one, some underdeveloped Hubbards, and a few really nice acorns. And of course the seventeen pumpkins. I have made pumpkin pickles and there is pumpkin pie to come. Hooray for the pumpkin pie!

Other thoughts for next year. Mulch and mulch and more mulch. Not quite so many beans. Not quite so many tomatoes. A garden is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t do to be completely in thrall to it and its ogre-partner the freezer. Only today have I escaped the grasp of green tomatoes. Only today am I free.

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